South Korean prosecutors have demanded the death sentence for the captain of the Sewol ferry that sank in April leaving more than 304 people dead.

Sixy-eight year old Lee Joon-seok has been charged with homicide for failing to carry out his duty effectively.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Park Jae-eok, was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Lee supplied the cause of the sinking of the Sewol…he has the heaviest responsibility for the accident."

The ferry captain was among the 15 accused of abandoning the ferry at the time of the incident.

"Lee supplied the cause of the sinking of the Sewol…he has the heaviest responsibility for the accident." 

Prosecutors have requested life imprisonment for three other crewmen, including first mate Kang Won-sik, second mate Kim Young-ho and the chief engineer Park Gi-ho.

The rest of the accused will face lesser charges, including negligence.

The court is expected to issue its verdict and sentences for the 15 crew members on 11 November.

The 146m-long South Korean passenger ferry Sewol capsized off the south-west coast on 16 April as it took a journey from Incheon in the north-west to the southern island of Jeju.

Sewol was carrying 477 people at the time of the incident, including 338 students and teachers from the Danwon high school in Ansan, Seoul, who were on a field trip to Jeju Island. In addition to passengers, the ferry was carrying 150 vehicles.